Welcome to Addi Road. On a cool, clear Sunday morning, after a very rainy night, the Marrickville Market is setting up. Trucks and vendors are driving in, pitching marquees, unpacking boxes of organic fruit and vegetables.
The community centre is coming to life as it does every day. Soon the Stirrup Gallery will be open, Tarn Ljubic and Holly Parsons’ The Garden of Good and Evil. Floral works with human organs being picked at by pretty birds. Woodcuts of Callan Park. Strange little beauties and scenery.
At the corner of Vivi Koutsoundis Drive and Movember Lane inside the Addison Road Community Centre there are signs directing people to the much-loved Koshari Korner Egyptian Street Food Cafe.
Another sign has a number on it…. ‘2’.
It’s one of many detailing the origins of the centre as a World War One army depot. Buildings of corrugated iron and wood, temporary structures now heritage listed because of their historical value. You can walk around the site and read about it all, see signs that tell a little of what the old buildings used to be as well as what they are now.
Soon The Fair Trade Emporium will open its doors too. On the other side of the car park the Addi Road Food Pantry is closed, but a few deliveries are being sorted for when it opens Monday to Friday, serving as a low-cost grocery store with an environmentally friendly ethos: rescuing food and purchasing stock to maintain its momentum as a local hub for food relief and what Addi Road calls “food justice”.
Birds are in a fever of life above everyone this morning, calling, carrying on. You’d think the place was in the middle of the bush. Not many people understand there are 176 trees on what is a nine-acre site managed by the Addi Road Community Organisation. It’s a running joke the organisation could dedicate itself to parkland maintenance and not do anything else. The place is huge; the demands on it similarly massive and diverse.
Kerry and Kerrie are up early to clean the bathrooms. Their names used to be spelt the same way, but she changed hers to an ‘ie’ because she she got sick of all the confusion. “You know we were also born on the same day!” The couple laugh. Wheel their trolley along. Things to do.
Addi Road Community Organisation manages the whole site, attending to it as best it can with limited resources. The whole place is a miracle of good will and community energy when it comes down to it. All the different visions and projects and events that live here or find a home for a while. Australian Martial Arts Academy, Radio Skid Row 88.9FM, The Bower, Autism Spectrum, the Greek Theatr, a plethora of artists studio… the place is a rabbit warren of action and creativity.
Anyway, the rain has blown over for a while and the birds are happy and it’s Sunday market day in Marrickville. Addi Road welcomes you to an amazing place and all that it facilitates. Like that Patti Smith song where she sings “people have the power”.